As a new product in a growing category, we get a lot of questions. As always, we’re here with answers, information, and clarity. These are the most frequently asked questions (and their answers) about the Supersapiens ecosystem including the continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system.
Are Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) only for people with diabetes?
At first, continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) had the specific use case of tracking glucose levels in people with diabetes. Today, the technology is being used by a broader audience to learn about their bodies, training impact, nutrition choices, and health.
Supersapiens worked with Abbott to use their trusted CGM technology and bring the Abbott Libre Sense Glucose Sport Biosensor - the world’s first CGM specifically designed for sport and not intended for use by people living with diabetes.
A recent scientific article addressed this broadening use of CGMs:
“Wearing a CGM has been used not only for diabetes, but with a goal of improving glucose patterns to avoid diabetes, improving mental or physical performance, and promoting motivation around healthy behaviorial changes. We expect that clinicians will become increasingly aware of (1) glycemic patterns from CGM tracings that predict an increased risk of diabetes, (2) specific metabolic glucotypes from CGM tracings that predict an increased risk of diabetes, and (3) new genetic and genomic biomarkers in the future.”
Why would someone without diabetes use a CGM?
To sum it up? There are a lot of reasons. Initially, many users seek help with their performance nutrition to help avoid ‘bonking’ or ‘hitting the wall’ due to low circulating glucose availability. Many users also use Supersapiens to experiment with different fuel sources or nutrition products and validate their subjective feelings with them. Once they start using Supersapiens, however, they start to see broader benefits. Beyond training and performance – in their non-event life and non-exercise hours – our users find Supersapiens helpful in promoting recovery, validating their diets, and managing their metabolism.
A recent survey of our users found:
- More than 50% of users have changed their in-workout fueling.
- 70% of users have found they have changed their diet.
- 36.5% of people have found they have had a positive improvement in their body weight and composition.
- Almost 60% of users have found a reduction in the number of times they bonk, hit the wall, or notice the effects of low energy during exercise.
Why are people without diabetes using CGMs if people with diabetes can’t access the life-saving technology?
To start, they are different technologies. The Abbott Libre Sense Glucose Sport Biosensor is specifically designed for use in sport for people without diabetes. For this reason, the range measured is only 55mg/dL-200mg/dL.
For decades, Supersapiens' Founder and CEO, Phil Southerland (who himself has type 1 diabetes), worked with Abbott and his own professional cycling team (Team Novo Nordisk, a team of cyclists with type 1 diabetes) to pioneer continuous glucose monitoring technology. They helped shape CGM to become what it is today. Years later, with proven and accurate sensors, Supersapiens partnered with Abbott to build the world’s first glucose management system designed for athletes.
As a company, Supersapiens is passionate about the increased awareness and use of CGM to drive economies of scale, therefore increasing research funding, reducing production cost, and ultimately affording more accessibility to those suffering from diabetes. Additionally, as more and more people start to understand how food, mood (primarily stress), and movement impact their glucose, we believe that there will be a greater understanding around the challenges people with diabetes face on a daily basis when it comes to trying to manage their diabetes.
Do you only need to use a CGM for a short period of time?
There is, of course, short-term value to seeing your glucose data: You can make immediate adjustments to your daily life to increase your glucose stability and overall energy. But, as time passes, we are learning – along with our users – that the long-term value is in helping prevent potential issues from arising.
Find a great example of how you can use Supersapiens in different parts of the training year here. And here is a link to our dashboard to help you track trends over time. Important: Know that glucose can change any time there is a change in routine. Think diet, travel, environment, training phase, altitude, and hormones – they can all have an effect on glucose stability.
Will wearing a CGM drive eating disorders?
We firmly believe in the power of being well-fueled. It’s absolutely crucial for health as well as performance. We believe that providing real-time data actually empowers users to feel more confident around eating. With the visibility that Supersapiens provides, the impacts of underfueling can become more apparent in a shorter time frame. Users often start to recognize the impacts of underfueling not only during training or racing, but also the direct impact on recovery and sleep.Therefore, the shortened feedback loop that a CGM provides can actually aid people in their dietary habits. And the data proves this to be true: In a recent survey of users, 70% suggested they had improved their general diet and 54% increased their in-workout fueling.
For more insight into the potential positive benefits of Superaspiens with respect to disordered eating, click here to listen to our podcast.
Are CGMs accurate? What is the difference between blood glucose levels and the glucose levels measured by CGM? What is the time lag between blood glucose and CGM readings?
The technology behind CGM is accurate enough that it’s used for people with diabetes to dose insulin. A procedure which, if inaccurate, can be life threatening. That said, even in those cases, there is the occasional need for a reference. This accuracy may not be as important as the trend though, especially in people without diabetes – hence the value of continuous measurements rather than single measurements, as explained in this podcast.
Regarding lag time between blood and interstitial fluid, there are differing timeframes quoted as to what this exact difference is, outlined in this blog. The article also touches on the difference between blood and interstitial glucose, which is what CGM measures. One consideration is whether this lag is relevant to an athlete or whether interstitial glucose – a more reflective of glucose available for use in tissues (eg. muscles) – is more helpful. It should also be noted that measures of this lag time are using CGM technology which has, at times, got a measurement frequency of as low as one measure per quarter hour. In contrast, Supersapiens’ measurement frequency of glucose is minute by minute.
What is my Glucose Performance Zone (GPZ) and how do I set it?
Your ‘Glucose Performance Zone’ (GPZ), is a concept to help users derive feedback from the app. Specifically, it is defined as the range of glucose where you perform and feel best. This may be a broad or narrow range, and it may differ between sports and intensities. It should be noted that glucose may not change a great deal from baseline when undertaking low intensity steady state activity but will primarily be driven up by intensity and carbohydrate intake.
The default range for the GPZ is 110-180mg/dL but this is arbitrary and should be personalized by going to Profile → Settings → Glucose Performance Zone (see below).
Glucose is unique to every individual, and therefore everyone’s GPZ may be different and can change over time. Use the GPZ as a concept to help you to evaluate your fueling.
The GPZ should not be seen as something Supersapiens is prescribing to you as an ideal area for your glucose to be during all exercise. It is merely a concept to help you better evaluate your own fueling during activity.
How do I find my Glucose Performance Zone (GPZ)?
Finding your GPZ will depend on the goals of your Supersapiens use. To truly start to dial in your GPZ, competition-like fueling for high-intensity workouts is typically what’s needed. Do a few of these, over a few weeks, keeping good notes (see below data analysis section) to start to understand where you perform best and feel best with respect to your glucose. The bounds of this are a good starting point for your GPZ. Over time, you can then refine your GPZ further as a result of more training and racing.
How do I Analyze my Supersapiens data?
This is an ongoing learning process for all users, including advanced users, members of our science team, and the broader scientific community. Therefore, there are a few things we recommend:
Keep Good Notes
The most important starting point is context. Without context, glucose data is difficult to interpret. This is why the Supersapiens Dashboard is so helpful. To aid in giving you context for your glucose data, we suggest making events for food, sleep, training, and stress (mood). Make notes about how you felt and your fueling strategy tol help re-analyze your data later on. This should be paired with the RPE and Energy feel of exercise events and tags, so you can find things later to compare against each other.
Remember How Glucose is Measured
CGM technology uses interstitial fluid to measure glucose. As a result, the dynamics are different to those in blood. Increases in interstitial glucose may be the product of both increased delivery, or reduced utilization, or vice versa. For more, see this article or listen to this podcast.
Start Short Term, Then Zoom Out
Happenings closer to the current moment have more impact on your glucose than things that happened hours or days ago. However, these other factors do play a role and may provide insight when things “don’t make sense”.
When you start with Supersapiens, use a 3 or 4 hour window to understand your current glucose. As time continues, expand this out as you gain familiarity with your data and your normal glucose patterns. You will start to learn that glucose can be impacted by any number of occurrences that happen days prior to the current time.
Look for Signal in the Noise
The sheer number of factors that impact glucose make it hard to understand what may or may not be playing a role in your glucose behaviors. One thing to remember is to repeatedly test certain interventions and look for consistency in effect. Given the challenge of isolating variables, it may be best to use a less controlled method for testing, which requires more trials to really understand effects.
General Concepts that are Helpful
- Aim for more stable glucose. This will aid in a number of ways. Generally, stability with respect to glucose will mean physiology is more stable, and thus can respond to requirements of activities better.
- Glucose can increase during exercise but it won’t always do so, purely aerobic training or very short burst, anaerobic training (5-10 seconds) may not yield much change in glucose.
- Try to stay in the blue zone most of the time, though there are some times such as post workout where a Rush may be helpful.
- Continue to experiment to really dial things in, looking for opportunities to improve.
- Glucose may change across phases of training and so may the emphasis of your Supersapiens use.
- Keep an eye on sleep, it may provide a sign that things need addressing if there are big changes to your sleep glucose.
Klonoff DC, Nguyen KT, Xu NY, Gutierrez A, Espinoza JC, Vidmar AP. Use of Continuous Glucose Monitors by People Without Diabetes: An Idea Whose Time Has Come? J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2022 Jul 20:19322968221110830. doi: 10.1177/19322968221110830. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35856435.